This is the end of my third week learning the Norman keyboard layout. Learning a new layout is quite a big endeavour, as it changes the way I do almost anything, both at work and at home. How well I learn it determines how efficiently I can go about my daily tasks, and how frustrated I get when I make mistakes that slow me down and get in the way. So how is my typing now, after three weeks of practise?
While the first week was laborious and required a lot of conscious effort to direct my fingers to the right keys, now my fingers have started to develop muscle memory for the new key layout. I still make a few mistakes in each sentence, but for the most part, I can type without thinking so much about where to place my fingers. A few keys that still trip me up are k and j, probably because they require the farthest reach of the index fingers.
My typing speed is now up at 60 to 65 wpm, which helps me to get my work done efficiently enough. With more practise, however, I should be able to get it up to my previous QWERTY speeds of around 80 wpm. And my typing speed in QWERTY? I can barely touch type it on my computer keyboard now, but I still do fine on my touchscreen phone and tablet. It seems that my fingers have developed two different muscle memories—one for physical keyboards and one for touchscreen keyboards. While this may sound strange at first, it really is not unusual. The same phenomenon also happens when I play music. My fingers and hands develop different muscle memories for piano, guitar and oboe, and I am able to switch between them effortlessly. The human body is pretty amazing!